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Court Reviews Charitable Aspect of Proposed Facebook Settlement

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

March 3, 2010

A proposed class-action settlement by Facebook that would see 70 percent of $9.5 million going to a privacy rights charity has rekindled criticisms about using charitable contributions to reach settlements in large cases, the Wall Street Journal reports. A San Francisco federal judge has heard an objection by consumer rights organization Public Citizen alleging that by helping to set up the charity, "In essence, Facebook is paying itself money to gain a broad release of its users' legal claims." Meanwhile, some legal experts are questioning whether judges should ever be the ones to choose which charities should benefit from such cases, the report states. However, in Facebook's case, Scott Kamber, the plaintiffs' counsel, said the charitable donation will provide more benefit to the 3.5 million class members than would a nominal settlement check. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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